The NBN Rollout Is Getting A New Watchdog Committee

We’re getting a brand new National Broadband Network (NBN) Committee. The Australian Government has agreed to form one to keep a close eye on the NBN rollout, which is set to be completed by 2020. Sounds familiar? There used to be one that pretty much had the same responsibility until it was killed off after the 2013 election. Here’s what’s new.

The Federal Government has passed a motion to form a Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network (NBN). It will report to the House of Representatives and the Senate on the state of the NBN rollout until the project is finished.

The Committee will be made up of 17 members:

  • Four from the House of Representatives, nominated by the Coalition
  • Four from the House of Representatives, nominated by Labor
  • One from the House of Representatives, non-aligned
  • Three from the Senate, nominated by the Coalition
  • Three from the Senate, nominated by Labor
  • One from the Senate, from the Greens Party
  • One from the Senate, cross bencher

There will be a committee chair nominated by the Coalition and a deputy chair nominated by Labor.

These 17 members are tasked to report to the Government on the progress of the NBN rollout in terms of how many people are using it, Australia comparative global internet rankings and “any market, industry, or regulatory characteristics that may impede the efficient and cost‑effective rollout of the NBN”. The Committee will publish fancy reports all about it.

Seventeen members. Not entirely sure how anything can get done with seventeen members, each with their own opinion and an incentive to push their party’s agenda. Just seems like there are too many cooks in the kitchen. The last NBN Committee didn’t really get much done either, so it’s hard to see how this new one will be any different. The Committee also doesn’t have any real power to get anything done.

No doubt there will be a lot of heated exchanges, which would be entertaining but, ultimately, unproductive.

What are your thoughts about the new NBN Committee? Let us know in the comments.

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